The Tudor Society

19 February 1547 – King Edward VI’s coronation procession

On Saturday 19th February 1547, King Edward VI rode from the Tower of London to Westminster in preparation for his coronation the next day. Chronicler and Windsor Herald Charles Wriothesley recorded:

"The nynetenth daie of Februarie the Kinges Majestie rode from the Towre to Westminster through the cittie of London, which was rychly hanged with riche cloathes and divers pageantes, the conduites running wyne, the craftes standing in their raills, and the aldermen, the lord major riding in a crymosin velvett gowne with a rych collar of goulde, with a mase in his hand, afore the King; and, when his Majestie came where the aldermen stode, the Recorder made a proposition to his Majestie, and after the Chamberlaine gave his Majestie a purse of cloath of gould for a present from the cittie, which he thanckfullie tooke."

John Gough Nichols, in Literary Remains of King Edward the Sixth, drew on a College of Arms manuscript for his account:

"On Saturday, being the xixth day of February, aboute one of the cloke in the afternone, the Kinges royall majestie proceeded from the Tower of London, through his cytee of London, in moste royalle and goodly wyse, towards his paleys of Westminster, in the which was made dyvers and goodly provisyon for the recepte of his most royall person, as hereafter shalbe declared.

First, The strettes through all the way where the Kynge should passe were well graveled, in every place thereof, and rayled on the one syde from Grace church strete to the Lyttell Coundeth in Chepe, to th' intente that the horsses showld not slyde on the pavement, nor the people showlde not be hurt by the said horsses in the high stretes. Within these rayles stode the crafts alonge in ther order, to the Lytel Coundyth aforesaid, wheras stode the alldermen. On the other syde the stretes in many places stode prestes and clarkes, with their crosses and sensers, and in their best ornamentes, to sense the Kynge; and by all the way where the Kynge showld passe, on either syde the way, was the windowes and walles goodly garneshed with clothes of tapesetry, arras, clothe of gold, and clothe of tisshewe, with quysshyns of the same, garnyshed with stremers and banners as rychely as myght be devysed. And in many places were ordeyned goodly
pagents, and devyses, and therein goodly melody and eloquent speches of noble historyes, treating of the joyfull welcominge and recepte of so noble a Kynge, as here after more plainly shalbe declared."

Nichols goes on to give the order of the procession: The King's messengers, the King's gentlemen, amabassadors' servants, the King's trumpeters, the chaplains "without dignity", Esquires of the Body, all knights, and chaplains "of dignity". These were all walking. Then, on horseback came the gentlemen and noblemen's sons, barons, bishops, earls' sons, marquesses' sons, dukes' younger sons, earls, marquesses and dukes. Then came members of the council who were paired with foreign diplomats: the Comptroller of the Household (Sir John Gage) and the Secretary of Venice, the Treasurer of the King's house (Sir Thomas Cheney) with "one of the ambassadors of the Protestants, the King's Secretary (Sir William Petre) with another Protestant ambassador, Bishop Cox (King's almoner) with another Protestant ambassador, Sir William Paget (secretary) with "Duke Phelyppe of Almany", the Lord Admiral (Thomas Seymour) with a Scottish ambassador, the Lord Privy Seal (Lord Russell) with a Scottish ambassador, the Lord Great Master (Earl of Arundel) with "Pooley Baron de la Garde of France", the Lord Chancellor (Earl of Southampton) with the French king's ambassadors, the Archbishop of Canterbury with the Emperor's ambassadors, "Sir Percevall Hart, knyght harbenger" who bore the King's cloak and hat, gentlemen ushers, then "Garter in the Kynges cote of armes" and the Mayor of London, the sergeants of arms, then the Constable of England (Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset) bearing the sword of state, the Earl of Warwick (John Dudley), then "the erle of Arundell, lord chamberlen, supplyinge the rome as
Earle Marshall, in the lew of the lord protector. Then a lyttell before the Kyng on the left hande, the duke of Somerset, Lord Protector."

Then came the new king, King Edward VI, "walking a lytell before his canapy, because the people might the better see his grace, his highnes being richly apparelled with a riche gowne of clothe of silver all over embrodered with damaske golde, with a girkyn of white
velvett, wrought with Venyce silver, garneshed with precious stones, as rubies and diamondes, with true-loves of pearles, a doblet of white velvet according to the same, with like precious stones and perles, a white velvet cappe garneshed with lyke stones and perles, and a pere of buskenes of white velvet. His horse caparison of crymoysyn sattyn, imbrodered with perles and damaske gold."

Edward's canopy was carried by six knights with assistants and the King was followed by his footmen. Sir Anthony Browne (Master of the Horse) "leadyng a goodly courser of honor very richly trapped", the henchmen with Sir Francis Bryan (Master of the Henchmen), the gentlemen and grooms of the Privy Chamber, the pensioners and men of arms.

According to Nichols' account, pageants included:

Then, the procession came to Westminster, where the King retired, thanking the ambassadors "for their paynes".

Notes and Sources

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